EXCLUSIVE"Iran doesn't get instructions from any direction "

Recorded by ANCUŢA STANCIU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 15 mai 2015

"Iran doesn't get instructions from any direction "

"I am concerned by the very slow reactions of the Romanian authorities in the relationship with Iran"

"We are determined not to rely on oil industry revenues"

"Almost 95% of Iran's needs are covered by domestic output"

"From the very beginning, it was never the intention of the Islamic Republic of Iran to produce atomic bombs"

(Interview with his Excellency, Mr. Hamid Moayyer, ambassador of the Republic of Iran in Bucharest)

A framework agreement on the final agreement with the Iranian nuclear program was obtained in the beginning of April, following marathon negotiations. The United States, Iran and other five major powers (Russia, France, Great Britain, China and Germany) have set the deadline for reaching an agreement on the West raising the sanctions on Tehran by June 30, in exchange for restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program. Mr. Hamid Moayyer, the ambassador of the Republic of Iran in Bucharest, was kind enough to grant us an interview in which he told us more about this agreement, as well as about Iran's relationship with NATO, Russia or Romania.

Reporter: What is your opinion on the recent deal between Iran and the six major powers for slowing down the nuclear activities of Romania? Will Iran accept diminishing its nuclear activities and receive periodical inspections for their verification?

Hamid Moayyer: Following talks between the two parties in Lausanne, Switzerland, has reached a political agreement, which has clarified the framework for the future. We are talking about a platform prepared for those that will sign the agreement. They won't have a tough job to do, because the framework has been clarified, all they need to do is to sign the general agreements and to see the draft through until its completion.

We are pleased that we have reached this stage of the understanding with the Western powers. Of course, from the very beginning, it was never the intention of the Islamic Republic of Iran to make atomic bombs, we have always wanted a peaceful approach when it comes to this "clean" source of energy, that any nation has a right to.

We could say that this issue has been "fabricated" to harm us, it is a crisis that we have been engaged in for a long time. Thus, we see, through this agreement, a good opportunity to overcome this obstacle to establishing new cooperation agreements with other countries of the world.

Reporter: Do you think that this agreement will be completed and signed on June 30, like the international press has announced?

Because there are many contradictory statements, on both sides, each of them setting conditions ...

Hamid Moayyer: That is propaganda. Since you are a journalist, I am convinced you are used to that kind of statements, it is natural for each party to emphasize its own point of view on the issue of the agreement.

That is why I think that only the official press releases issued after the negotiations in Laussane should be taken into consideration, which are shared by both parties. On the version of the agreement that is being worked on, the relevant statements are those of the

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, doctor Mohammad Javad Zarif.

I think that the statements you are referring to are not important, because in the end, a document will be signed, which will have been drawn up based on the collaboration and negotiations of the coming period.

We are optimistic, because, from every direction, there are manifestations of the political desire to finalize this agreement and to exit this deadlock. We are hoping to obtain and to sign a final draft at the end of these negotiations, perhaps even earlier than the end of June. We also believe that the benefits resulting from the signing of this agreement will influence the whole world.

It could be a sign of cooperation, as well as a platform that serves as an example for all the other countries interested in producing nuclear energy in a peaceful manner.

Reporter: Do you believe that after the signing of the agreement, the economic sanctions imposed against Iran will by the Western powers will be eliminated?

Hamid Moayyer: If this agreement goes through, then they will definitely have to be eliminated.

Reporter: There is that "if" word again!

Hamid Moayyer: They should be eliminated, because, from the very beginning of the talks, two main objectives were set. One of them is Iran's responsibility, namely to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities, and the other involves lifting the economic sanctions, by the five major Western powers and by the US, after the confirmation of the first objective.

So, if one party honors its obligations, why shouldn't the others honor theirs?

We can be sure that no deal will be signed between Iran and the Western powers, if all the sanctions aren't lifted at the end of the negotiations.

Reporter: We have seen that Russia, for instance, has been significantly affected by the sanctions imposed by the Western powers because of its conflict with Ukraine. How was Iran affected by the Western sanctions?

Hamid Moayyer: Naturally, some effects of the restrictions placed upon us have been felt in our society, and in our economy as well, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is a big country, powerful and very rich, and the sanctions haven't caused harm to the economy or to the population.

We have suffered a little, to be honest, that is why we are hoping that these sanctions are eliminated, but at the same time, these sanctions have also had positive effects on the Iranian society.

We have always wanted our economy to stop being dependent on the revenues of the oil industry, and the sanctions have actually been useful, and helped us reach that goal.

Thus we have been encouraged to increase of non-oil production, thus becoming less and less dependent on the export of oil.

Iranian citizens have worked very hard and are now trying not to rely on revenues from the oil sector.

In this context, I remember that during the revolution (ed. note: the Islamic Revolution of 1979), Americans were saying that they would isolate Iran and our Imam responded: "Isolation is a blessing from God".

Some people were surprised by his words, but afterwards, slowly, people understood that that isolation gave us more power to produce goods in many sectors.

Today, I can tell you that almost 95% of Iran's needs are covered through its own internal output.

Considering that, how can a country like Iran, which is strong through its economy, culture and society, be affected by some sanctions?

I think that the Western countries have become convinced that maintaining the sanctions is useless, because they can't get what they want in doing so.

I will give you an example, prior to the sanctions, we had approximately 200 centrifuges (ed. note: for enriching uranium), and immediately afterwards, their number increased, and there are currently at nearly 20,000.

As a result, we can say that these sanctions have not been very useful tools, which is precisely what encouraged the Western powers to engage in dialogue with Iran to resolve the problems, instead of insisting on pursuing restrictive measures.

At the same time, we have had the successful idea of offering our projects to local entrepreneurs and investors, who took over very quickly, I wouldn't say 100%, but around 70-75%, of them.

Of course, the Americans have tried to change the political behavior of the Iranian Islamic Republic, by exercising pressure, but I think that they have realized very quickly that it wasn't possible and that Iran is a state that doesn't receive instructions from any direction.

From the beginning of the victory of the Revolution, we have publicly announced, through our regretted leader, Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini, that our policy is neither oriental nor western, (ed. note: the slogan of the revolution "Neither West Nor East"), that we will not be receiving instructions from anywhere, not from America, nor from Russia, we want to be independent and to decide on our destiny ourselves.

The current state keeps the same stance.

Furthermore, we do not like to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. Over the last three centuries, there have been no cases where we have attacked other countries, we have always been very peaceful, our people is a peaceful one, just like the Romanian people.

After the Revolution, we have been forced to wage the war with Iraq, by the Americans and with the help of a few countries in the region.

As you know, after a revolution follows the rebuilding, but we have been forced to wage war, in spite of our opposition. After eight years we got rid of it and we have gone back to the reconstruction of our country, in order to bring more welfare and progress in various areas.

Now, Iranians have become accustomed to working harder and being friendlier to the other nations, especially those in their immediate vicinity, with which we are trying to maintain the best relations and to tell them that we are determined to live in peace and stability with them, like a family.

Reporter: What is your comment on the accelerated drop of the price of oil?

Hamid Moayyer: This reduction has seriously affected our budget, because we have drafted the latter based on the oil price before the drop.

Reporter: The drop seems to be artificial ...

Hamid Moayyer: Of course it is an economic issue and it could even be said that some states have a real intention of doing this. If we were to name one specific country in particular, we would it see that it is being affected itself by the drop of the price of oil.

But in the end, the evolution of the market, the demand/supply ratio, represent the rule of the economy.

Iran has been affected by the drop of the price of oil, but, like I've mentioned earlier, the state of the sanctions has been like a kind of blessing from God and we have succeeded in not depending on oil revenues to a great extent.

We are now used to working harder and having higher outputs in various sectors, inside Iran itself.

Sure that, like I've said before, the drop of the price of oil has affected our national budget, we need to have some changes in next year's projects, but which can be organized. It is not about a large scale action, and people will receive justifications from the authorities, they will be informed.

We have very good people, very cooperative and they are prepared to make sacrifices for the Revolution, for their culture and independence.

If they are subjected to any pressure, they will accept it and will come to the aid of the Iranian government.

I think that the situation just can't remain like this much longer: from what I've been led to believe, even Americans are facing shale gas problems, which will definitely affect the oil market.

At any rate, we have decided and we are determined not to rely on revenues from the oil industry. That is our strong decision and, by applying that tactic, I don't think we will be too affected in the future.

Reporter: Which will be the basic sectors that Iran will rely on in the future?

Hamid Moayyer: We are a very rich country, due to the ore reserves, we produce a lot of fruit, we cultivate significant areas of land to obtain crops. We have also improved our industrial sector, and implicitly production, as well as in the IT sector.

We export a lot to the neighboring countries, the commercial exchanges with Iraq, for instance, amount to 13 billion US dollars, with Turkey to 14 billion US dollars.

In Russia's case trade is intensifying more and more.

Something interesting is happening: in the exchanges with Russia and part of Turkey, for instance, we have dropped the dollar, and are using our own currency. This can be beneficial for us.

With China, the trade volume is very high, it is nearing 40 billion dollars.

As you can see, our economy is not so small, that it can be influenced by unfair policies.

Like I've said before, we need to reach our goal of no longer relying on oil revenues. We are not certain about the future, I am not an economist, I can give assurances that things will be better, so we need to be prepared for all kinds of situations, to deal with the problems.

Reporter: I saw that American analysts said that the OPEC is no longer exercising the same influence on prices. What is your opinion?

Hamid Moayyer: I don't think that idea is correct.

The OPEC supplies one third of the global oil market, how are we going to believe something like that? No, it is not true.

The OPEC member states with sea access have a major influence on the oil market.

Perhaps the latest decision of the Organization, to keep the output unchanged, was not an economic one. We are hoping that, following the talks with the administration of the OPEC, this decision will be corrected, and by cutting output, a better price of oil will be reached.

Reporter: NATO has announced that it would not abandon the implementation of the anti-missile shield in Europe, in spite of the preliminary agreement concluded in Lausanne concerning the Iranian nuclear program.

Recently, Hossein Dehghan, the Iranian minister of Defense, announced in Moscow that Iran has asked for a cooperation with Russia, India and China to counter NATO's military expansion plans in Europe.

What is Iran's position on the anti-missile shield, including on Romania's territory?

Hamid Moayyer: Of course, concerning the agreement between Iran, China, India and Russia, we are talking just about cooperation, rather than action against NATO or any nation. As I have already mentioned, Iran is a friendly country, it doesn't intend to attack any other country.

From the very beginning it was very strange to receive the news that the anti-missile shield is being made because of the threats in the Middle-East or in Iran. We couldn't believe something like that.

We are certain that Iran has good relations with the other countries, there is no intention to attack any state and certainly, there is no reason for worries over that aspect to exist.

This spring, the commander of NATO's armed forces in Europe, Philip Breedlove, said that NATO needs to increase its troops in Eastern Europe in the context of guaranteeing the security of Romania, Poland and the Baltic zone, amid the intensification of Russia's pressure.

And it is every country's right to arm itself.

Reporter: The Russian Federation seems to be the loser, following the signing of the agreement between Iran and the Western powers. According to a Stratfor analysis, Russia's economic situation will be affected by the pressure exercised by the Iranian oil brought into the market, following the agreement. It is well known that Iran has good relations of cooperation with Russia. Do you think that they will be affected by the agreement?

Hamid Moayyer: After the statements of the officials of the Western countries, including those of Mrs. Mogherini, Russia helped us a lot in these discussions, trying to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

I think that Russia will benefit from this deal.

Reporter: How?

Hamid Moayyer: Iran will have a better situation, and Russia could benefit from it, through the fact that Iran can be a good partner.

Even now, Russia is itself under pressure, due to the sanctions imposed by the West.

The more friends it has, the better.

Our relationship with Russia is historic, it has always been good, close, we've had a remarkable economic cooperation, especially in the Caspian Sea. We are neighbors and we have very good commercial and passenger exchanges.

Moreover, we are aiming to increase our trade exchanges with Russia.

As for the price of oil, it is currently not that high that it would hurt Russia for instance. I still think that demand is very high, so that even if Iran entered the market, there is still room for Russia or others.

Reporter: What is Iran's position on the conflict in Yemen?

Hamid Moayyer: From the very beginning, we have been against the horrible attack of the Saudis in Yemen.

They said that they would attack military targets, but the result was that innocent people died over there, approximately 2000, of which 200 children. Hospitals, schools, people's homes have been destroyed. What are the military targets?

I think it was just a barbaric, pointless attack.

Fortunately, praise Allah, the Saudis have agreed to halt the bombing campaign against the Houthi militants in Yemen and to allow the Yemenites to enter dialogue.

I think that the people of Yemen can decide on its own destiny.

We have said that from the very beginning.

Our Iranian foreign affairs minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, sent a letter to the head of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in which he was presenting a four-item peace plan for Yemen, which stipulated the immediate ceasefire, the end of the foreign military operations, the providing of humanitarian assistance and the resumption of the talks for the creation of a national union government.

let's hope we will have peace and stability in Yemen.

The Houthis are engaged in fighting Al-Qaida in Yemen, but unfortunately the Saudis attacked them. But even during the attack they continued fighting Al-Qaeda. And still fight against Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

We have so many problems in the region with terrorists such as ISIS or other factions, that we do not need others, such as the one in Yemen.

But it happened and as Madam Mogherini rightly mentioned, this was only in the benefit of Al-Qaida. Because they have this luck that their enemy is attacked by Saudis.

We hope that the commitment to the fight against terrorism will continue in the Middle East, in Yemen, in any place on Earth.

Terrorism is the people's enemy and we need to act.

If they were responsible powers, the countries who supported the Saudis shouldn't have done it. Because they have indirectly helped Al-Qaida in Yemen. So how they claim they are fighting terrorism? You should have helped the Houthis to fight Al-Qaeda and to finish terrorism in Yemen. And after that you could have negotiation under the supervision of UN in Yemen, to establish national unity government. We are prepared to cooperate with all the nations in the region, and as I mentioned we have announced that we are ready to cooperate with them to bring more peace and stability in the region. Iran is the most stable country in the region. So it's a good base, a very suitable base for spreading stability in the region and the degrade of terrorism.

Reporter: What are your comments on the so-called "Arab spring" which has proven to be a failure, according to analysts?

Hamid Moayyer: The Arab Spring was the result of oppression and suppression against the nations in those countries. People revolted.

There have been some victories in Tunisia. Unfortunately, in Libya, the changes have led to internal war.

In Egypt, the population had some victories against dictator Hosni Mubarak, but some mistakes were made by the Muslim Brothers as well, who lost the power as well and have caused much harm to the Revolution.

There have been some sparks from the so-called "Arab Spring" in Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, on various levels.

People need to understand that they need better organization, better mechanisms to obtain freedom and independence.

The idea is a good one, but the tools and the path to get to that goal are important too.

We, Iran, have our own experience in that regard.

Our revolution, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was a success. Leadership is a very important factor in a revolution.

Because we had a leader that, in spite of the existence of different parties, or groups, or tribes in our country, succeeded to bring all of them under one umbrella. It was very important. Which isn't something we can say about the revolutions in the other Arab countries.

In Egypt, again, this thing didn't really happen. There political party was strong, but it made a big mistake, it could not raise that umbrella, that big umbrella for everyone to gather under. And they couldn't cover the others. This is very important. They are going to govern a country. To govern a country you should look into different people. You cannot just look into your own party. So it was a big mistake, so it all fell apart.

Reporter: Which are the most important foreign investors in Iran?

Hamid Moayyer: Germans have significant investments in Iran, the Chinese and the Turks as well. Even now, with the sanctions, the level of commercial exchanges with Germany amounts to approximately billion dollars.

We also have trade exchanges of 2-3 billion US dollars with Spain, France, less so with Portugal.

I am amazed that Romania is so far behind these countries in its relations with Iran. You are very slow. A visit of the Romanian officials in Iran was organized last year, but it wasn't enough.

We had something like 15 European foreign ministers visiting Iran. Italian minister visited two times, just after the office of Dr. Rouhani in Iran.

In the past, Iran was a very good market for Romania. But now, I am very concerned over the slowness in reaction of the Romanian authorities in the relationship with Iran. You will lose in the competition with other countries when it comes to cooperating with us.

There are many Iranian businessmen with good memories about the Romanian partners in the past. And they have good memories of the Romanian production in Iran, but because of these nuclear issue and sanctions all stopped and they are saying that it would be very good if that cooperation with Romania were established again.

They say that Romania awaits for the sanctions to be lifted, for the Romanian businesspeople to invest in Iran. It may be too late.

There are some companies in other countries that have already prepared projects for the time when the sanctions get lifted. And they want to start their businesses right away.

Reporter: Iran has recently become a founding member of the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), with the decision being made by the existing members, including China, Great Britain, France, India and Italy. Why did Iran want to join this project?

Hamid Moayyer: This project is in Asia, and Iran is an Asian country. In April, Iran succeeded in being accepted as founding member of this bank, which is in line with our economic policies to cooperate with various countries all over the world.

Asia is our continent, thus, it is a valuable opportunity to have such a cooperation with Asian state. The AIIB will be an international power, probably the second largest after the World Bank.

There are already 57 states that have joined the AIIB, many of them European.

Iran will certainly benefit from its joining this bank, especially in the form of assistance with our projects.

Reporter: Do you think a third world war is possible?

Hamid Moayyer: The first and second World War was sponsored by Europeans. You should ask them.

I hope that it won't happen, but the threat exists.

Some people are 100% confident that we won't have the third world war, but I can't be so sure.

There will always be problems in the world if we do not succeed in having the "governance" of truth and justice.

The third world war is a threat that people may be faced with in the future.

How can we escape this threat?

I think that injustice, discrimination, need to be eliminated, pressuring innocent people should stop.

For instance, why do you think there are so many Europeans, who live in civilized countries, but who are joining the ISIS, such a dangerous terrorist group?

I don't like to call it "Islamic state", because it is neither a state, nor Islamic. It has nothing to do with Islam, and it's not a state. They are killing innocent people, beheading the innocent people, selling the women in the market, and doing so many crimes in the region and in the world! So why are these people, who are brought up in civilized countries, going out and joining this terrorist group?

It's probably because of the injustice in their societies. Until all of these injustices in the world are eliminated, the threat of a new war will continue to exist.

Reporter: Thank you!

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